i don’t mean to offend anyone out there who has their daughter in the scouts or who has fond memories themselves of bearing the beanie. i have fond memories also. but mostly of goofing off and shooting the shit (the ten year old version of it, anyways) and just hanging out. it didn’t really hit me how little our troop did until recently.
i guess you could blame it on the fact that we had a bunch of hippie stoner moms as our scout leaders (my mom and aunt included in this group). but not the kind that had all kinds of back to the land basics kinds of knowledge. more, the kind that liked to talk the talk and sit around and get high and say “f to all authority”. i’m getting away from my point.
so the other day, i asked my mom about it. “what gives?” i said. “why was the girl scouts so lame?” she paused for a second before she agreed with me that it was lame, though she didn’t really have a satisfying response. “i’ll never sign ruth up for the girl scouts. i want her to do cool things.” i said, though i was secretly thinking in my head that if i was a scout leader, i would show my scouts how to do shit. and i would take them cool places. we would be rad.
“take this soap-making book i’m reading here,” i said to her. “you take fat and lye and combine them and they neutralize into a salt (soap) and that’s called ‘saponification’. isn’t that sweet? how cool would it be to show some girl scouts how to make their own soap?!” well, she looked unimpressed and i think her eyes glazed over the moment i mentioned anything about chemistry. also, the first thing my mom would think of would be lye burns and liability, which, perhaps i’m being a little ignorant of. i was never in charge of a group of other people’s kids before, after all. risking your own kids eyesight using powdered lye is one thing.
i let it go with my mother. i didn’t bother to tell her about the family whose blog i had recently stumbled upon who hiked the entire Appalachian trail together from start to finish. now, that’s the kind of experience that i’m talking about. i mean, camping in a shitty bunk house and listening to dirty dancing cassette tapes in your spare time is all good and fine. singing girl scout songs in a loud drunken obnoxious kind of way is one type of childhood memory. but there are others.
mine were good. and well-cherished. but perhaps not quite the same brand that i hope to give my own kids. so, maybe there will be no beanie for ruth. no wolf baseball hat thingy for joel. no lame (sorry) uniforms. but there will hopefully be real adventure. real self-discovery. and real re-connecting with the basics of life. one of these days i’ll just have to learn to sew so i can show ruth and joel. or maybe they’ll be the ones to show me…